News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.

Rio Hondo Forensics Student Wins Gold at National Tourney

By Valerie E. Martinez


The Rio Hondo Forensics Speech and Debate team brought home gold and two bronze medals after competing in the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament.  Hosted by Los Angeles Valley College April 16-20 at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, the national competition drew more than 60 college teams and 400 students. Phi Rho Pi is the National Forensic Association for Community Colleges.

Months of vigorous preparation paid off for gold medalist Steven Villescas, 20, who competed against students from all over the country in Prose Interpretation. Vanessa Cazares, 24, earned Bronze Speaker in Prose Interpretation and another  Bronze Speaker in Dramatic Interpretation.

Rio Hondo College was represented by ten students, three coaches and two judges, the most ever from the forensics program to attend the national competition.

Cazarez is excited about the growth in the forensics speech and debate program. “This tournament is extremely competitive,” she says, “but I know that our team is progressing. We’re getting better and better every year.”

Program Coordinator Libby Curiel leads the team along with coaches Grant Tovmasian and Steve Rohr. Speech faculty Gilbert Puga and Adam Gonzalez also assist.

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